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University Art Galleries to feature 'Utopian Visions' exhibition

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The exhibition, “Utopian Visions: Illustrations of the Mid-20th Century,” will open July 30 in the John A. Day Gallery at the University of South Dakota. The exhibition, scheduled for display through Sept. 21, presents 40 illustrations from the University Art Galleries permanent collection. These illustrations, from the late 1940s through the early 1970s, were originally published in Man’s Magazine, Challenge for Men Magazine, pulp and sci-fi novel covers from Pyramid Books, and federally-funded public service announcements.

According to Alison Erazmus, Gallery Director and one of the exhibition’s curators, “Utopian Visions” is an opportunity to look into popular American culture in the mid-20th century and examine the traumas of WWII, the restriction of gender roles in America and anxieties of the Atomic Age. The illustrations provide a unique insight of a society coping with the effects of atomic power and a lost generation of men due to the brutality of war.

A reception for the student curators, USD graduate student Matt Presutti of Knockemstiff, Ohio and USD undergraduate student Zach DeBoer of Brandon, S.D., is Friday, Sept. 14, from 5 to 7 p.m. and is open to the public. Presutti received a 2012 Graduate Student Research Grant and traveled to New York City during the past academic year to meet with the director of The Society of Illustrators, Eric Fowler, where he learned more about the illustrations in the UAG’s permanent collection.

Located in the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts on the USD campus, the John A Day gallery is free and open to the public Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information about the exhibit, contact Alison Erazmus, Director of the University Art Galleries, at (605) 677-3177 or


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Hanna DeLange
USD News